Sample Kobo – Gujō-shi, Japan - Gastro Obscura

Sample Kobo

Gujō-shi, Japan

Make your own fake treats at this factory and workshop in the epicenter of Japan's food replica industry. 


In the mood to whip up some wax tempura, or perhaps a cup of artificial melted ice cream? At Sample Kobo, not only can you watch artists create Japan’s signature replica food, you can also try your hand at making some yourself.

Replica food is famous in Japan, and Gujō-Hachiman is where it all started. Many of the fake food items are still hand-made by local artists rather than mass produced. The food looks so realistic, it’s easy to forget it’s actually inedible.

Restaurants use replica food to give customers a glimpse at what their menu offers. You can also find the deceivingly lifelike dishes in shopping malls and tourist centers, where their realistic depictions allow people to get a sense of the food and its portion size.

People began creating pieces of replica food in the early and mid 1900s, and the industry has remained strong ever since. Artists traditionally crafted their work with wax, though plastic has become the more common material of choice.

At Sample Kobo, you can take a replica food making workshop and walk away with your own little souvenir. The instructors offer a few different options for you to choose from, like wax tempura or a plastic sweet.

While visiting the factory, you can even watch some of the artists at work. There’s also an exhibit of food replicas that were made by the artists themselves.

Know Before You Go

Reservations can be made on their website.

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